What Are Raccoons Most Closely Related To

What Are Raccoons Most Closely Related To

The relationship of the giant panda to other animals in the Carnivora has been somewhat controversial. Davis firmly said, based on anatomy, that giant pandas are bears. Some workers, however, have argued that the giant panda is more closely related to raccoons than bears, others have placed it in a group of their own within a larger group of carnivorans (the Arctoidea) containing both bears and raccoons. There was a flurry of argument in the late 1980s generated by comparison of hemoglobins molecules that suggested that the giant panda and the lesser panda (figured to the right) were closely related, and were related to raccoons rather than bears. Several different lines of argument now clearly point to giant pandas being most closely related to bears.

In addition to Davis’ arguments about anatomy, panda hair ( Dziurdzik et al ), and lots of molecular studies say giant panda is a bear.


What Family Are Raccoons In?

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Raccoons are cute and quirky creatures, what with their memorably dark-rimmed eyes and rather rotund physiques. The moderately sized mammals also look nothing like a lot of other animals you might frequently see scampering around, whether deer, rabbits or squirrels. Raccoons are part of a totally different family, after all.

What Family Are Raccoons In?

The omnivorous and mostly nocturnal mammals are part of the family Procyonidae, which also consists of coatis and other similar animals. Raccoons are also part of the order Carnivora.

Common Shared Body Traits of the Family Procyonidae

Although all of the animals within the family Procyonidae are different, as members of the same unit, they do also share a variety of key physical bodily traits. Some common characteristics of most Procyonidae animals are tails that are of moderate to extended length, relatively long bodies, short ears and curving claws. In general, the animals range from little to moderate size, reports the Animal Diversity Web website of the University of Michigan. Some can weigh less than 5 pounds, while others can even exceed 40 pounds.

Shared Facial Traits

Raccoons and other members of the family Procyonidae typically possess facial features that are reminiscent of foxes, notes the website for the University of Edinburgh’s Natural History Collections. Despite the facial similarities, foxes are members of a totally different family — the family Canidae. Family Procyonidae animals usually feature conspicuous marking patterns on their faces. These markings also appear on their tails, as well. The animals also usually have wide faces.

Specific Examples of Family Procyonidae Animals

Some of the various different animals that are closely intertwined with the raccoon within the family Procyonidae include the kinkajou, the ringtail, the white-nosed coati and the South American coati. Animals from the family appear in a diverse range of settings, which include tropical rainforest, desert and swampy areas. Raccoons are particularly prevalent in prairies, woodlands, swamps and urban regions, and are usually very adept at adjusting to new and unfamiliar living environments, reports the website for the Department of Environmental Conversation for New York State. The nimble animals also frequently reside by rivers.


What are Racoons related to?

Are raccoons related to cats,dogs,or rodents? I know all different species have different personalites like how dogs are loyal and go in packs and cats are independant but they can also lovable/curious, but what about rodents? Should I get my Racoon declawed? Racoons only think about food?

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20 Answers

Raccoons belong to the family Procyonidae. This family contains coatis, olingos, ringtails, kinkajous and the red panda (though some scientists think the red panda should be placed in a family of its own). People are therefore correct when saying raccoons are related to pandas if they mean the red panda, but not if they mean the giant panda — the giant panda is a bear, belonging to the family Ursidae. It is not closely related to the red panda, though this was once thought to be the case, hence the shared common name.

The family Procyonidae is part of the order Carnivora, to which the cat and dog families also belong. Rodents are a different order altogether. There are two branches of the order Carnivora, the Feliformia (or ‘cat-like’) families, and the Caniformia (or ‘dog-like’) families. The Procyonidae family belongs to the Caniformia branch, along with the Canidae (dogs), Ursidae (bears), Mustelidae (weasels and relatives), Otariidae (eared seals) and Phocidae (true seals). The Feliformia branch contains the families Felidae (cats), Viverridae (civets and genets), Hyaenidae (hyenas) and Herpestidae (mongooses).

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Racoons can make good pets but keeping them in a cage would be wrong. There is a great true kids story called Rascal. Be sure to have your racoon get shots since they can get rabies and other diseases. Check and see if it is legal to keep a racoon as a pet in your state. They are solitary except when they have a litter. The kits stay with the mom for a long time until they can hunt and forage on their own.

Racoons are NOT mustilids. Skunks are, along with weasels mink, wolverines and otters. Racoons are omnivores.

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The red panda (Ailurus fulgens) has been traditionally included within family Procyonidae, along with racoons and coatimundis. However, a 2000 study rejected the hypotheses that the red panda is most closely related to the bears (ursids) or to the raccoons (procyonids). Some new classification schemes assign it to its own family, the Ailuridae. The giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca) is a member of family Ursidae, along with other bears. The evidence for inclusion of this species is overwhelming, despite its obvious specializations. So I guess the answer is No, none of the «panda» species are related to racoons.

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What are Racoons related to?

Are raccoons related to cats,dogs,or rodents? I know all different species have different personalites like how dogs are loyal and go in packs and cats are independant but they can also lovable/curious, but what about rodents? Should I get my Racoon declawed? Racoons only think about food?

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Of the species you mentioned, they are closer to the dogs. However, that relationship isn’t terribly close. They are indeed closer to pandas and bears than they are to dogs.

As someone earlier mentioned, they are in the Family Procyonidae, and their closest relatives are the other members of that family — several other species of raccoon, kinkajous, ringtails and coatis. Outside of the Procyonid family, the closest is the red or lesser panda.

As for your other questions, no you absolutely should not get your raccoon declawed. Raccoons have very dextrous paws which they rely upon both to handle their food and investigate the world. Their fingers are among their most important appendages. It’s possible to declaw cats by cutting the ligament that allows them to extend their claws, but the only way to declaw a raccoon is to chop the last joint off of each finger. This would be the equivalent of chopping your kid’s fingertips off to keep them from putting grubby fingerprints on the glass coffeetable. It would work, but is rather more drastic than the situation warrants.

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Also, as others have mentioned, raccoons do not make very good pets. They are curious and destructive — rather like living with a toddler who can climb. And they do indeed become more aggressive and territorial as they get older.


Are Raccoons More Like Dogs or Cats?

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My wife and I left the city of Seattle and moved into a small suburb. Not too long ago, a family of trash pandas raccoons walked across our backyard deck, like they owned the place. (See photo.)

This got me thinking. Are raccoons more like dogs or cats? They certainly exhibit both kinds of behaviors. On the one hand, like dogs, they live in packs. But not always. Raccoons, especially males, go through a phase when they live alone, just like most cats. Other research has shown that raccoons form sex-specific groups. That’s right; raccoons have «boys only» and «girls only» clubs.

Raccoons are extremely intelligent, which (sorry cat lovers) makes them a bit more like dogs. (Dogs have twice as many neurons in their cerebral cortices than cats, the parts of the brain associated with higher level thinking.) Raccoons are omnivores, and though dogs are technically carnivores, they’ll eat just about anything you give them. Cats, on the other hand, are picky eaters.

So, that settles it. Raccoons are like dogs? Well, sort of. The term «trash panda» really is accurate; raccoons are most similar to bears.

Raccoons and Bears Share a Common Ancestor

Along with dogs and cats, raccoons are part of the order Carnivora. However, an evolutionary tree shows that they are most closely related to bears, sharing a more recent common ancestor with these burly beasts than with either of our domesticated friends.

Notice that the evolutionary tree splits earliest between cat-like species («Feliformia») and dog-like species («Caniformia»). So, the dog-cat division happened early in carnivore evolution. Raccoons arose within the Caniformia suborder. So, technically, the answer to our question is that raccoons are more «like dogs.» But there’s more to the story.

As evolution progressed, the ancestors of modern-day dogs and the ancestors of modern-day raccoons went their separate ways. Then, about 40 million years ago, the tree split again, with raccoon-like animals going one way and bear-like animals going another. (Here is a tree depicting the evolution of just bears and raccoons.)

There’s a Bear in the Woods

As it so happens, a few days after we bought our new house, a black bear wandered through our yard. (It climbed over our fence and its sizable rear end bent it.) Little did we know that the raccoon family that made an appearance a few months later were cousins. Distant cousins, but cousins nonetheless.


What Are Raccoons Most Closely Related To

There was some confusion about this for a while. Scientists put living things in groups to help us organize what we know about the millions of species on Earth. Not everything fits neatly into the groups scientists have created.

Pandas are in the animal kingdom, along with all of the other living things that get their energy from eating and are made of more than one cell. Worms, insects, and sponges are animals too. They are vertebrates, along with all the animals that have a skull and a backbone. Fish and frogs are vertebrates too. Some vertebrates are mammals (members of the class Mammalia) because they have hair and their mothers give milk. Mice and deer are mammals. They are in the order Carnivora because they have a certain set of teeth and because they are closely related to other carnivores. Cats and otters are carnivores too.

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You probably know that raccoons and bears are actually not carnivorous. Most are omnivorous and eat both plants and animals. Pandas, as you probably know, are strict vegetarians.

To answer your question, for a long time people have disagreed about whether giant pandas and red pandas were bears or raccoons. Until some new technology came along, they mostly had to look at bones and teeth. Scientists have used DNA to find out that the giant panda is more closely related to the other bears than to the raccoons. Giant pandas are in the family Ursidae with the seven other bear species. Raccoons are in the family Procyonidae along with ring-tails and coatis.

The bear family and raccoon family are closely related. Red pandas (often called lesser pandas) are now put in the raccoon family. Scientists will have to keep working to find new information to figure out if that is where they belong. That is how science works. We keep trying to get more information and keep our minds open for new answers.

Answer 2:

I guess it depends on what you mean by «related», but I took your question to mean «Are these three animals in the same family?» Biologists classify animals according to how closely they are related to each other with a system that goes like this (from general to specific): Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species.. If two organisms are in the same species, they are about as closely related as two individuals can get without sharing relatives.

Animals start to get pretty closely related at the level of family. Pandas, bears and raccoons are all mammals and they all share the same order (Carnivora), so they are all related to each other to some extent. The classification that they share is: Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia, Order Carnivora. From there, bears are split into the Family Ursidae and raccoons into the Family Procyonidae. OK, so where do pandas fit in? Pandas are in the Family Ursidae, and are considered true bears. There seems to be some misinformation floating around the web that pandas are more closely related to raccoons than bears. Although scientists first thought this was the case, it is not considered true anymore.

Although they share the same order, bears and raccoons do not share the same family. The only other animal in North America in the same family as the raccoon is something called the coatimundi. By the way, do you know what the classification system is for humans? Most people don’t even know their own phylum! Humans are mammals, so we are in the same class as pandas, bears and raccoons. From this, you can tell that sharing the same class doesn’t mean a whole lot in terms of relatedness. Our full classification for humans is: Phylum Chordata, Class Mammalia, Order Primates, Genus Hominidae, Species sapiens.

Answer 3:

The giant panda (species Ailuropoda melanoleuca, the large black and white animal that most people think of and is found in zoos) is part of the bear family. site to learn more

There is a lesser known «panda» (species Ailurus fulgens or red panda) that is part of the super-family Musteloidea, along with the weasel, raccoon and skunk families.


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